Memorials Are Suggested: Esther Phillips, age 92 (1921-2014)

Esther Phillips, 92, of Columbus, Kansas, died at Freeman Hospital West in Joplin, Missouri, on January 18th, 2014.

She was born on May 6th, 1921, the daughter of Charley and Louise (Bucl) Riedl in rural Rozel, Kansas.

Esther grew up on her parent’s farm in Conkling Township in Pawnee County Kansas. Being an only child, she remembered fondly the family gatherings at the holidays when grandparents, aunts and uncles and especially cousins joined together for food, fellowship and play-time. Along with her father and mother, she moved from the farm in 1938 to the community of Larned, Kansas. She graduated from Larned high school in 1939.

She married James Phillips on September 29th, 1940 in Larned. To this union three children were born, Nancy, Marie and Jim. They lived in the rural Larned area until 1946 when they moved to a farm near Admire, Kansas. In 1951, they moved once again to a farm they had purchased near Osage City, Kansas. She helped manage a feed store Jim and she bought in Burlingame, Kansas and moved to a farm north of Burlingame to be closer to the store in 1956. The feed store closed.

In 1964 they moved with Jim Jr. to Cozad, Nebraska where Jim Sr. found work at Allied Alfalfa Mills. In Cozad, Esther worked in various jobs, including nurse’s aide at the Cozad Nursing Home and Southview Manor, housekeeper for the Evening Star Motel, electronic harness assembler at Plectronics and housekeeping at Monroe Auto Equipment.

Jim passed away in 1976. Later, Esther married Leroy “Frenchie” Gaudreault on June 2nd, 1979. Esther moved to Columbus, Kansas in 2007 to be closer to her daughters, Nancy and Marie.

Esther was a leader of the Duck Creek Pals 4-H Club of Admire. She held membership in the Pythian Sisters in Burlingame, the Business and Professional Women in Burlingame, Rebekah Lodge of Cozad, the Red Hat Society of Cozad and St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church of Columbus. She was a founding member, past president and board member of the Grand Generation Senior Center in Cozad. She loved family, friends and fun. She possessed a quick wit and a love of laughter, traits she passed to her children.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, James Phillips; sons-in-law Don Nepple and Fred Evans and a son, Butch Gaudreault.

She is survived by her daughters, Nancy Evans and Marie Nepple, both of Columbus, Kansas and Cathy and Lorraine Gaudreault, both of Cozad; daughter-in-law Betty Gaudreault; sons Jim (Nancy) Phillips of Omaha, Nebraska, Sid (Rhonda), Pat (Chris) and Tim (Selena) Gaudreault, all of Cozad and Mike (Jody) Gaudreault of Eustis, Nebraska; 19 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

Funeral Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 25th, 2014, at the Vernon-Morrell Funeral Home in Larned with Fr. Warren Specklein officiating.

Burial will follow at the Larned Cemetery in Larned, Kansas.

Rosary was recited at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014, at the Bath-Naylor Funeral Home in Columbus, Kansas; family will receive friends following the rosary.

In lieu of flowers the family asks expressions of sympathy to be in the form of memorials to the Grand Generation Senior Center of Cozad and/or Charity of Donor’s Choice. Friends are asked to drop off or mail memorials to Bath-Naylor Funeral Home 611 S. East Ave. Columbus, KS 66725.

E-mail condolences may be left at

Arrangements and services are under the direction of Bath-Naylor Funeral Home of Columbus.  


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